An MMO Universe is as big as the imagination of the developers who are designing new games. But the popularity of any MMO title is determined by the amount of people willing to play a particular game for longer than a few days.
I will ask why some MMO titles did not achieve the success which was expected, the answer could be very simple; lore, content, character progression were poor or too difficult to grasp -- I believe that in the case of 80% games vanishing from the market this is exact issue.
But it seems that there is whole group of games which did not achieve success regardless of being very decent products. They are somehow underplayed, even if hanging on in the market for long time. Still, regardless of having a dedicated but small player base, they could use some additional love treatment from MMO fans.
Let's take a look on 5 Underplayed MMO's You Should Try Out Now.
Dungeons & Dragons Online
This classic MMORPG game stayed in the market since 2006. Based on the tabletop RPG, which was hugely popular before computer MMOs were even "a thing."
The action takes place in and around the city of Stormreach, somewhere on the fictional continent called Xen'drik. The continent is mostly unexplored but some time in the past it was the centre of highly prosperous Giant Civilisation.
With stunning visuals, huge amounts of missions and very classical approach to RPGs, Dungeons and Dragons Online should draw a lot more attention and is one of the titles underplayed by many MMO fans.
The game has a unique approach to the characters levelling up system. Traditionally new skills are gained by killing monsters, while in Dungeons and Dragons Online skill improvements can be gained by completing quests.
It is quite possible that sourcing this MMO from the classic RPG can make some players reluctant as it suggests a high level of complication and very slow dynamics of the game. But once you will step into Dungeons and Dragons Online, it is easy to see that there is nothing to worry about. The game is classy, beautiful and highly playable once player would soak into the lore.
The Secret World
How about an MMO which takes place in our times? It could be an extremely boring idea, but imagine this: every myth, every legend and every conspiracy theory is true?
In this MMO the world is attacked by the occult forces. To fight them humanity has three different secret societies, known from conspiracy theories: The Illuminates, The Dragons and The Templars.
Just the storyline should grant some attention from players, but this is not everything. The scenery and overall feeling of the game is stunning!
The Secret World is set very contemporary reality, drawing aesthetics from folklore and legends, smoothly connecting monsters: Zombies in foggy England, mummies in Egypt and of course vampires in Transylvania.
And there is more, The Secret World offers very playable classes (they are easy to learn and play with for the most part) and a reasonably easy to follow system for advancing your character. No steep learning curve and high playability.
Regardless of the fact the game has stayed on the market since 2012, and had a lot of positive reception, it seems to be hidden gem. Overpowered by much more popular titles on the market.
The Secret World is based on buy-to-play model, but there is 10 days free trial giving full access to the game.
My advice would be to jump in, and feel the different approach to MMO offered by this title.
EverQuest II brought significant improvements to the EverQuest franchise. A 3D MMORPG situated in fictional world of Norrath, sometimes compared to un-doubtful ruler on the market -- World of Warcraft, EverQuest II never reached same popularity.
EverQuest II offers a lot of different playable races and decent amount of character classes. While the storyline is very classic, players should not have any problems to connect with the in-game lore and expand it on their own. EverQuest II is solid example of classic approach to MMO.
Game has been on the market since 2004, still providing new content and has a stable base of players. It just seem to be not popular enough.
Certainly EverQuest II seems to be underrated, but with a free to play option added a couple of years ago, it is a recommended MMO for all those who did not try it yet.
DC Universe Online
Let's see: we have all the superheroes from the DC Comics Universe, superpowers, tonnes of action and stunning visuals. Nothing should go wrong.
DC Universe Online has also rather good reviews from the critics and holds reasonable base of players, reaching 18 million.
For some reason most of those players come from the Xbox and PlayStation.
DC Universe Online is underplayed by PC gamers, which are turning to other more popular MMO titles. It seems the biggest concerns for people trying this title are some limitation in character creations, shortages in storyline, and too long cinematic sentences.
Personally I didn't notice any of above issues. Perhaps DC Universe Online is not exactly what I am looking for in MMO games, but certainly there is no reason for this title to be underrated by players.
The game can be played for free, and MMO fans who have yet to try DC Universe Online should try it now.
Why has Runescape landed on this list? The game has been on the market since 2001 -- at some point it was probably one of the most popular MMOs. With a huge community of players, tonnes of content and a very playable realm, Runescape should be one of the winners.
But it is not the case. At least not any more.
It seems that issues started from 2007 when the game was heavily rebalanced, or for vast amount of active players -- unbalanced.
From then on, more and more active players to left the game. Finally, the developer -- Jagex -- asked their player base for its opinion on the changes provided in 2007. 99% of them wanted to go back to previous system of game mechanics.
While this should have solved the problem, Jagex -- in a separate referendum -- decided to also maintain the new rules on separate servers. This decision divided the existing player base into two communities, and since 2013 there are two separate versions of Runescape -- old school version and current version.
It seems that this was not helpful for the franchise as Runescape moved quickly to the niche of MMO market. Although it is good to know that the game is still stunning and highly playable for anybody into fantasy worlds.
So there they are, the MMOs which feels underplayed or underrated for different reasons. Quite often this feel very unfair, as the games are good and highly playable.
There is one more game which is heavily affected by word of mouth and popular opinions; EVE -- being known for a ruthless community and a very difficult steep learning curve in game. All of this sounds pretty bad, all the stories about new players losing everything, and being killed in seconds by skilled old-timers. But this is simply not the truth. Regardless of popular opinion about EVE being very difficult and cruel -- it is still in good condition and even growing.
Do you know any underplayed or underrated MMO games. Are you still playing them? Why do you think other should play them as well? Let us know.